Home Authors Posts by Nikhil Daljeet
Tyler Bozak is Toronto’s first line center. For now and the foreseeable future, Bozak has a stranglehold on a very enviable position between James Van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. While Bozak has occupied a similar spot in the past, Nazem Kadri’s emergence last season and Bozak’s own untimely injuries had set the stage for a tantalizing possibility – the seemingly natural progression of Toronto’s most talented center (Kadri) into a role on the first line.
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 5: Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Toronto Maple Leafs turns a shot away against the Dallas Stars during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 5, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto welcomed the HBO crew with a 3-2 overtime victory at the Air Canada Centre. They came out with the appropriate amount of desperation and effort for a team that has been stumbling significantly.
With last night’s loss against Nashville, Randy Carlyle’s stint behind Toronto’s bench has spanned more than a season’s worth of games. Recently, there has been much discussion surrounding this team’s identity. Clearly, the current Maple Leafs are one of the best quick-attack squads in the league. They have a collection of highly skilled players, good special teams, and the support of some fantastic goaltending. Yet naysayers are prevalent in the Toronto hockey scene. Their criticism has often focused on the supposedly debilitating shot differential that has characterized this iteration of the Leafs. This is a team that has seen success under Carlyle in spite of the shot differential statistics. Ironically, it wasn’t so long ago that this franchise bucked this category of questionably predictive statistics from the other side of the spectrum.
Photo: Getty Images via NHL.com
The Leafs will return to the ice after what has seemed like an eternity. The JVR-at-center experiment will make its debut against the Devils tonight while Smithson and Fraser will draw into the lineup. The former is a move of necessity while the latter are indications of Carlyle reinforcing his desired style of game.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES/MapleLeafs.com
The Maple Leafs started their western road trip on the right note, putting away the Oilers 4-0. It was an impeccable road game, and possibly Toronto’s best work over sixty minutes this season. James Reimer tightened his grip on the starter’s role with a shutout and Phil Kessel moved into a tie for second in league scoring with four points.
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Toronto bounced back from a defeat in Columbus last night in a big way with a win against the Penguins. The Leafs found their physical game and put forth a strong effort across the board on their way to a 4-1 victory.
Photo: Canadian Press Files - Postmedia News
Tonight, David Clarkson will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many in Leafs Nation are excited about the prospect of a power forward like Clarkson entering the lineup. Rightly so: he hits, he fights, he cycles and he can put the puck in the net.
No, winning the first two games of the season does not make the Leafs contenders for the Stanley Cup. You would think that goes without saying. Yet apparently the ever-astute media is under the impression that Leafs fans have been overcome with cup delusions, as they have already felt the need to trot out journalistic diarrhea to talk us down from our delirium. But, we crazy Toronto fans are fairly certain that we have a young, developing team with many high-end pieces that suggest the franchise will continue on their upward trajectory in the near future.
It’s October and hockey is back. With it comes the unparalleled rush of seeing your team beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Unfortunately, it also comes hand in hand with whistle-happy refs, clueless CBC commentators and a surplus of scraps. With their speed, pugilism and offensive prowess on full display, this looks like it will be another exciting year for the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs dropped a 5-2 decision to the
Swedish Olympic team Detroit Red Wings tonight. While firm judgement should never be made based on preseason, many of the goals tonight were a testament to the skill that the Red Wings possess and a poor effort from the Leafs. It will be great to renew one of Toronto’s oldest rivalries this season against one of the league’s oldest set of players.
The Leafs took a 3-2 decision in tonight’s preseason match on a late scrappy goal by Dave Bolland (he’s good at those). There was some injury concerns after Nazem Kadri blocked a shot with one of his patented nifty mittens, but early reports indicate it is just a bruise.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Morrison yesterday on behalf of MLHS. The Director of Amateur Scouting for the Leafs, Morrison is an intelligent hockey mind that provides direct insight and analysis on the prospects and general state of affairs in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. We covered topics including recent draft picks, organizational depth, up and coming prospects and Nazem Kadri.
It’s days like these where you miss Brian Burke. The straight-shooting, loyalist ex-GM of the Leafs had his faults (eg. being too loyal), but impatience was never one of them. The buyout of Mikhail Grabovski, one year into a recently signed contract reeks of shortsightedness and impulsiveness on the part of Leafs management.
Photo: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
In a half-season full of successes and pleasant surprises, Cody Franson’s growth as a defenseman was one of the best and brightest developments for this young Toronto team.
These Leafs will not go quietly. After another hard fought, fast-paced game with excellent goaltending, Toronto eked out a 2-1 win that has forced a seventh game tomorrow night back in Boston. With standout performances from Reimer, Gardiner, et al., the Maple Leafs secured their first win on home ice of this postseason. Hopefully, it won’t be their last.
With their backs against the wall, the Maple Leafs will look to force a seventh game by winning at home for the first time this postseason.
Toronto will undoubtedly play with the desperation they showed for most of Friday night. The difference tonight will be that the Bruins are also starting to feel the pressure. Boston will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the Leafs and James Reimer in an effort to close out this series. With the continuing struggles of Seguin and Marchand, the offensive load will likely be carried by the Krejci line.
At the other end of the ice, two feisty Leafs centers in Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri earnestly want to make a contribution of their own to their team’s success. With the way Grabovski has elevated his game in these playoffs, it should only be a matter of time before the Belorussian finds his name on the scoresheet.
Toronto put up a valiant effort in their first home playoff game in far too long. Despite finally outshooting their opponents, the Maple Leafs paid the price for a handful of individual, but egregious errors. The Bruins regained their home ice advantage with the victory, but the Leafs sustained offensive pressure and created numerous chances with nearly fifty shots on the night. In short – tonight’s tilt was reminiscent in many ways of the positives from game two, with a scattering of costly turnovers that were the trademark of game one.
Toronto gave up five goals for the second consecutive game as John Tavares and the Islanders took tonight’s tilt decisively. The Leafs built a two-goal lead on their first two shots of the game before paying their dues to the tune of five consecutive goals against on account of inattentive and sloppy play.
Dave Nonis and co. made a cheap, depth addition to their blueline today by adding Ryan O’Byrne. You would almost think the ghost of Brian Burke was behind this move as Toronto picked up a large, physical player whose impact is reflective of work ethic and toughness rather than innate hockey finesse.
Toronto overcame a slow start on the second night of a back-to-back set to close out the league-worst Florida Panthers at home. The game featured the return of Joffrey Lupul to the Kessel line, simultaneously heralding the revival of said line as contributing members of the team.
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